When you decide to start a website, you need to find a hosting company who can provide you with server space. There are many types of hosting services made to support different projects. In this article, I’ll narrow down the options into two types of hosting: shared hosting and VPS hosting.
I’ll cover the definitions, and main features of each, as well as the differences and pros and cons of the two most popular hosting types out there. Let’s figure out which option is best for you.
Shared Hosting and VPS Hosting In A Nutshell
What is Shared Hosting?
You can illustrate Shared Hosting as living in an apartment where you have to share places such as the pool, yard, and parking lot. Your website will share the same resources, such as CPU, disk space, and memory with other users who are on the same shared hosting server.
Shared hosting is the cheapest among all. Unfortunately, your site might have limited bandwidth and will get slow when there is a lot of traffic crowding website’s on the same server as you are.
You can enjoy the pool when it is not crowded, yet you still have to anticipate when everyone goes in, and things get cramped – shared hosting is a lot like that.
What is VPS?
With Virtual Private Servers or VPS hosting you’ll still share your server, but each user gets dedicated resources – meaning other VPS on the same physical server won’t affect you, unlike with shared hosting. VPS hosting provides a dedicated virtual partition for each user, making sure resources are always available to you. Yet, of course, VPS comes at a higher price.
If we’re going by the housing analogy, then a VPS partition is like having a penthouse, or a condo. There are many apartments like it in the building, but you have everything you need and don’t have to share it with anyone.
Are There Any Other Types?
Aside from Shared and VPS, there are two more common options – Dedicated Hosting and Cloud Hosting.
A dedicated server is exactly what it sounds. If you are using a dedicated hosting service, your website will be stored in a single server dedicated only for your personal use. You don’t have to share the same server with anyone, and you can freely customize it based on your liking.
Cloud hosting is a type of web hosting which uses multiple servers to balance the traffic and maximize uptime. It is inspired by cloud computing technologies that allow a large number of machines to work as one system.
So, instead of having your site hosted in one server, it’s in a cluster which allows multiple servers to work together, improving redundancy and traffic management. If one server fails, another will aid in keeping everything running.
Both Dedicated and Cloud hosting are excellent services. However, this article will only be focusing on Shared hosting and VPS hosting because they are the go-to options if you just started.
Shared Hosting and VPS Hosting: A Deeper Look
Since knowing the general definitions is not enough, now I will provide you with some comparisons on shared hosting vs VPS to help decide which type works best for you.
For this article, I’ll focus on security and performance, control, server administration, scalability, and pricing.
Security & Performance
Just like living in an apartment, when using Shared hosting there are “noisy neighbors” or problems which come from sharing a hosting plan.
Your site might be affected when there’s an error on another website. Also, if other websites eat up too much of the shared bandwidth, your website might get slowed down.
However, you can avoid this problem by using VPS, as the partitioned servers make sure each website works accordingly.
If you are looking for more advanced options for your website, VPS hosting is more suitable than a shared hosting plan. VPS hosting grants you root access to the server, so you can install your own OS and software to optimize site performance and security.
In contrast, using a shared hosting plan limits you only to standardized server setups.
If you choose to host your website with Shared Hosting, there will be little to no technical maintenance required by you. Shared Hosting providers will set up the shared server, install and upgrade necessary software like cPanel and monitor the servers to avoid downtime – effectively taking care of the backend.
Shared Hosting can be your option if you want to start a website, yet don’t have a lot of technical knowledge. The backend is entirely taken care of.
On the other hand, VPS Hosting is slightly more complicated when managing resources. Hence, it needs somewhat more advanced knowledge to administrate and manage. Fortunately, VPS Hosting lets you customize and configure applications and software to increase your website’s performance, offers root access as mentioned before, and lets you tailor the backend to your needs.
Not only that VPS Hosting is more customizable, but it is also easier to scale up too compared with Shared hosting.
While Shared hosting is a good option for a short-term plan, your site might get scalability issues depending on how big your website grows. VPS Hosting allows you to scale quickly and easily, and if you can predict your website growth, VPS Hosting might be a great investment in your future.
Shared hosting is obviously cheaper than the VPS one.
Yet a greater price comes with a greater advantage. To demonstrate, I’ll elaborate on the difference between Shared Hosting and VPS Hosting plan based on my favorite web host, Hostinger.
Above you can see the comparison between Shared Hosting and VPS Hosting plan.
From the part I highlighted, it is shown that the cheapest VPS plan costs slightly higher than business Shared Hosting plan. It also offers less storage space and has a limited bandwidth compared to Shared Hosting one.
Yet why VPS is still more recommended?
VPS Hosting saves a part of the server exclusively for you. This is different when you use a Shared Hosting structure. Shared Hosting proportions can change over time and depend on how much space your website requires.
Which One Is Better For You?
- Shared Hosting is the more beginner-friendly hosting plan
- Shared Hosting provides a standardized setup
- Shared Hosting requires less technical expertise
- Shared Hosting is the least expensive of all hosting plans
- Shared Hosting often has less bandwidth and storage than VPS
- Shared Hosting is prone to errors when there is high traffic
- You have limited access to the backend
- Shared Hosting doesn’t grant you root access
- VPS Hosting grants you with root access
- You can make more customizations based on your needs
- More memory and bandwidth
- It is not affected by other site’s traffic
- Much more stable
- Comes at a slightly higher price
- Needs technical expertise to manage
Both Shared Hosting and VPS Hosting are great options for you to create a website. However, the best decision depends on what you need and how do you want to present your website. The verdict is as follows:
Use Shared Hosting, if:
- You want to make a blog or personal website.
- You are making a small to average-sized website for companies.
- You have a small budget.
- You don’t have advanced tech knowledge.
Use VPS Hosting, if:
- You are running a business and plan to expand it in the future.
- You have a larger budget and want to invest in your site.
- You are expecting a high-traffic website with optimal speed and bandwidth.
- You are creating for companies expecting a significant traffic increase in a short time.
What is The Best Time for an Upgrade?
If you’re already using Shared Hosting and enjoying it, you might wonder when is the best time to upgrade to VPS Hosting. You can start to get serious about upgrading if your website:
- Needs more customizable options since VPS provides you with root access for thorough customization.
- Been having a dramatic rise in traffic and is still happening
- Plans on hosting many websites in the near future
The hosting plan you choose is heavily based on what you need. As we’ve seen above, a VPS Hosting plan provides you with advantages which Shared Hosting doesn’t have. However, the efficiency of it depends on the kind of site you want to run.
Before you choose your hosting plan, you can consider it by looking through again some important indicators I’ve mentioned above:
- Security & Performance. VPS Hosting is less prone to errors that come from other servers than Shared Hosting.
- Control. VPS Hosting lets you perform more customizations because it grants you root access.
- Server Administration. Using VPS requires more technical knowledge than using Shared Hosting.
- Scalability. VPS is easier to scale up than Shared Hosting.
- Pricing. Both plans have different prices with different benefits, but Shared Hosting is less expensive than VPS.
In the end, the choice depends on whether you are ready to run a private server yourself and to pay slightly more or not. Shared Hosting is more than capable–but you could advance further with VPS Hosting.